Dr. Will Kirby
Aug 15 2011

Dr. Will Kirby on Laser Tattoo Removal: How It Works

Learn how the technology behind the laser tattoo removal process makes unwanted tattoos fade away.

The mechanism for removing a tattoo with a quality-switched laser is called selective photothermolysis.

“I know you are thinking, ‘Nerd alert!’ ” says Dr. Will Kirby, medical director for Dr. Tattoff. “In a nutshell, what it means is laser light enters the skin, fractionates ink pigment, and the patient’s own immune system destroys it.”

Although the technology is relatively new, the treatment is effective, and the procedure is relatively pain free, Kirby says. There are essentially two hurdles to tattoo removal: time and color. Patient education is an imperative part of clearing those hurdles.

It can take several treatments, spaced a minimum of eight weeks apart, to fully remove a piece of body art. Plus, some inks are more persistent than others. Green, purple, pink, brown and some shades of blue usually require more treatments than black and red, Kirby says. Luckily, nearly all tattoos are primarily black.

Read more about Dr. Will Kirby and his tattoo removal business, Dr. Tattoff, in the BizTech feature story that covers his company's transition to a VoIP phone system.

Thomas Alleman